This past weekend I rented a tilt-shift lens. These lenses are meant for perspective correction in architectural photography, but I was really curious to try one out just to play with focal plane a little. Using a lens like this allows you to have a tiny little slice of a photo in focus:

You can have a small slice of focus if you’re using a lens with a wide open aperture (say a lens that goes to f1.4) or a macro lens, but in those cases the slice that’s in focus is always parallel to the camera. With the tilt shift lens, the line of focus can run straight from the background to the foreground, as it does in the center of the photo above.

It’s an excellent way to draw your attention to a specific part of a photo, like the garage doors in the photo above. For me, it’s a look that I love, but one I’d use sparingly. I took it to the super-beautiful, super-fun wedding I photographed over the weekend. I used it for a few portraits, which ended up looking really lovely. Once I finish working on the wedding I’ll post them here and you can see what you think.


  1. Posted July 7, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff, that’s a lot of fun. I planned on getting a tilt-shift lens after I first used one.

  2. Posted July 7, 2008 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Ben! As much as I loved playing with this lens, I don’t think I’m going to buy one. I think I’ll keep it as something I just rent every now and then…

  3. Posted July 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Ah, I’ve been so itching to rent one ever since I heard Glazer’s Rentals has one … which TS is it? I can’t wait to see your portrait examples! These are great – I particularly like the last one.

  4. fkphotography
    Posted December 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    great article. tilt shift lenses essentially create faux reverse bokeh effects.

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